Broward Health CIO: IT is the 'heartbeat of the enterprise'

Life as a hospital CIO is full of twists and turns, according to Broward Health CIO Doris Peek.

Peek was named CIO at Broward--based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida--in 2006, and, as she tells Becker's Health IT and CIO Review in an interview, has seen many defining moments and changes in healthcare IT. IT, she says, is crucial to creating change in the healthcare industry; it drives innovation, is accountable for the adoption of new technologies and is "the heartbeat of the enterprise."

"Through all these past, present and future changes, IT has grown in stature," Broward says. "IT is no longer considered 'just an expensive cost center."

However, the healthcare industry often lags behind others in adoption of new technology. A recent study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and found only 27 percent of healthcare organizations seek out an early advantage for new tech, compared with 36 percent that buy new technology after others have proven its benefits.

At Broward, Peek says points to a series of improvement programs as her greatest accomplishment. While she cites initiatives to improve business continuity, disaster recovery and service delivery, however, because of the constant changing nature of HIT, her biggest accomplishment fades with the newest task she has to tackle.

She notes funding and costs as her biggest challenges, adding that HIT infrastructure is costly and misunderstood.

For other CIOs, Peek says that they should take a collaborative and holistic approach. She adds that innovation takes guts and is not for the faint-hearted.

Stephanie Reel, vice president for information services at Baltimore-based John Hopkins Medicine, also told Becker's that CIOs must have passion, anticipate needs, balance priorities and be fiscally responsible.

To learn more:
- read the Becker's interview